Remembering Rome: What became of the cancelled hit HBO show?

225px-Rome_title_cardIt’s been 5 years since the last showing of Rome and fans have been left in the dark ages ever since. Between 2008 and 2010 exciting rumors surfaced over a possible Rome film; yes film!  But the fire of anticipation around those rumors have burnt down to mere embers as of late. What made Rome stand out was its sheer scale, its attention to detail in costuming and architecture that were all visible in its grandeur.

In fact, it’s rumored that the period sets spanned a whopping 5 acres and that would make it one of the largest period sets ever. The joint BBC/HBO production had an estimated budget of $100,000,000, though the result of that was a new, innovative historical epic the likes of which had not been seen since of Band Of Brothers (and more recently, Game of Thrones). Bruno Heller was just one of the executive producers at the helm of the series and also was the man behind the the great writing.

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Rome showcases Roman society and culture, series one during and after the glorious reign of Julius Caesar (Ciarán Hinds now Mance Rayder in Game of Thrones season 3), and the life of the historical leader and his family, series two focusing upon the power struggle between the cynical and vulgar Mark Antony and the ambitious Octavian following the climatic end to series one. Cleverly, this parallels the story of Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), two soldiers that over the course of the series take us through the rough ride of Roman civilization, also ironically finding themselves to be unknowing catalysts of historic events. Lucius’s and Titus’s hardship and friendship is known as being one of the most memorable ever seen in a television series.

Rome introduced a mixture of both new and fresh faces. Most notably, the experienced Ciarán Hinds, who before Rome had starred in Lara Croft Tomb Raider : The Cradle Of Life and The Phantom Of The Opera, and James Purefoy (Who plays Mark Antony), who before Rome was known by roles in A Knight’s Tale and Resident Evil.

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The two focus characters played by Ray Stevenson and Kevin McKidd saw their careers flourish after their notable performances in the series, Stevenson moving on to recent big budget films such as Thor and The Three Musketeers, and McKidd providing the voice of Soap MacTavish in the popular video game series Call Of Duty, and also plays Dr. Owen Hunt in Grey’s Anatomy. As you may know, two actors from Rome will be playing two big roles in Game Of Thrones season 3. Ciarán Hinds will play Mance Rayder, the ex-Night’s Watchman leader of the Wildlings, a role that was interestingly suggested to fellow Rome actor James Purefoy by some fans. The other casting choice of note is the role of Edmure Tully, Catelyn Stark’s younger brother, who will be played by Tobias Menzies, who in Rome plays Marcus Brutus. These UK actors add to an already jam packed UK cast. It can be said, with Rome having similar scale and stylistic features to Game Of Thrones, that the pair are no strangers to playing historical archetypes and will surely ease into the roles effortlessly.

JamesPurefoy1With its strong cast and increasing popularity, it was certainly a surprise when Rome wasn’t renewed for another season. Rome was initially meant to be a mini-series, but when more people got behind its creation and the quality of writing improved it turned into a full ongoing series. However, with its blockbuster size budget, Rome was scrutinized financially, causing HBO to announce that they wouldn’t be renewing Rome into its third season.

With recent shows making it past the season two threshold, is there room for optimism? Rumors suggested that Rome could have hit the big screen, a wise choice, as there is more chance for it to make its budget back, though I believe Rome was made for TV, and would be better off for it. I can’t imagine fans of Game Of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire would be to happy with their beloved series being squeezed into a two hour time frame.
1311Rome-HBO-Series-Posters1Unfortunately, this past year has seen little to no news about Rome hitting TV or film. With HBO comfortable with its resurgence of popularity of it’s shows as of late, can Rome be considered again in the near future?  This is doubtful, with Game Of Thrones in full swing, HBO undoubtedly wouldn’t take the risk of investing $100 million into a show with the competition it faces at this time, even with Rome’s past and arguably present popularity.

For now, DVD/Blu-ray versions of Rome will have to suffice for fans, the brilliant hit show will never be forgotten, and may not have to be. There is still time, and you only have to look at Band Of Brothers and The Pacific to know that HBO haven’t been shy of rekindling similar styled big budget series in the past. Whether Rome comes back with the same characters or ventures into new territories, we still would give anything for a bit of news!

For more on Rome, check out our full review of both seasons!

Leave us a comment with your own hopes and dreams for the future of this show.

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